Martin Reads to Buchanan Elementary

Over the past five years, the Thunder has made exactly 1000 player appearances into the Oklahoma City community, but each event, including the one on Tuesday with Kevin Martin at Buchanan Elementary School in Oklahoma City, prove to be different, exciting and special in its own way.

Seated in front of an auditorium full of second graders, Martin made his first solo community appearance of his Thunder career with a Reading Time Out event, sponsored by American Fidelity. With a conscientious and playful spirit, Martin read the book J is for Jumpshot to the students and made it an interactive exercise.

“It was great, that’s what this whole thing is about, getting together with groups and being positive influence to little kids,” Martin said. “It was also fun for me because it was my first Oklahoma City appearance, so I’ll always remember this one.”

Not only did Martin incorporate the students into each letter of the alphabet when reading to them, he actually made the decision to bring up multiple second graders up one by one to read with him in front of their peers. After finishing the book, Martin helped the Thunder and American Fidelity announce the donation of 1000 books to Buchanan Elementary in commemoration of the 1000th Thunder player community appearance, much to the delight of Principal Scott Kaufman.

“Seeing him read with the children and helping them read and assisting them in reading, that was a big thing,” Kaufman said. “That’s exciting, 1000 books for our library. That’s just great, that’s fantastic. We promote reading every day and that will give our students more books to read from, so we appreciate that greatly.”

Martin seemed to tap into the minds of the second graders and got onto their level throughout the book reading, asking them questions and engaging them in a conversation. It was a sight to behold, however, when Martin guided the kids through each page of the book as the selected second graders read to the entire auditorium. As the Buchanan Elementary students continue learning proper reading fundamentals, moments like that are important in developing confidence.

“Them coming up and them being able to read in front of an NBA player and their classmates, that’s hard to do,” Martin said. “The courage that they had to come up, if they can read in front of myself or 70 of their peers, they can read anywhere.”

After Martin and the students were finished reading J is for Jumpshot and the book donation announcement was made, Martin ensured that each student would take reading just as seriously moving forward. The whole group joined in to recite the Read to Achieve Reading Pledge then Martin handed out Thunder wristbands to each student as they clamored around him in excitement.

“It’s just wonderful for them to see a role model in the neighborhood,” Kaufman said. “He was great with the kids. He gave them an opportunity to sit up there and read with him. That’s an experience they’ll never forget.”

While this was Martin’s first Thunder community appearance, it was clear he is a natural when it comes to connecting with children and making a lasting impact. He has been with the Thunder for just a month, but after today’s visit and Martin’s trip with the team to the City Rescue Mission, he can already feel the connection the Thunder has with this Oklahoma City community, and knows that bond means he’ll want to head out for many more appearances with Oklahomans.

“You can tell the connection the Thunder and this community has,” Martin said. “I think with any organization like the Thunder and the community, that’s just a positive thing within itself. I’m sure we’ll keep on coming out here and doing things like this. It’s just a win-win situation.”